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100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed Paperback – September 22, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press/ Black Cat (September 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802117813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802117816
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #940,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A scandalous bestseller in her native Italy, Melissa P.'s avowedly autobiographical novel recounts a Sicilian schoolgirl's erotic adventures. "I want love, Diary," she writes just before her 15th birthday. "I want to feel my heart melt, want to see my icy stalactites shatter and plunge into a river of passion and beauty." Love may be hard to find, but sex waits at every turn, and Melissa seldom says no. In calmly vivid prose, she describes the varieties of experience, beginning with her introduction to oral sex: "I now had it before my eyes, it smelled male, and every vein that crossed it expressed such power that I felt duty-bound to reckon with it." This same sense of duty mandates sex with a woman, sex with an older man, sadomasochistic sex, group sex. Although her mother tells an ill Melissa a fable about a princess, Melissa tells herself no fairy tales—and therein lies the odd, potent purity of these pages.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A wisp of a book that has had a wallop of an impact . . . readers have simply devoured it." -The New York Times "The narrator brings an emotional authority to her work. . . . 100 Strokes is by turns romantic, erotic, sensationalistic, and disturbing." -Rachel Kramer Bussel, Bust "Rendered with language much more elegant and precise than one would ever expect from a mere teenager." -Corriere della Sera (Italy) "Scandalous, word perfect. . . . A story that cannot be put down told by an imperious personality whose passion overwhelms the reader." -Gazzeta del Sud (Italy)

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Customer Reviews

As an italian young woman I found this book to be one of the most boring books ever written.
Sara F.
The problem is either she does not really have the talent to back up her ego, or her annoying self-involvement gets in the way of what could be good writing.
jm
The book gives the reader an insight on the workings of a promiscuous teenager's mind and her experimentation with sex in search of true love.
M. Asfour

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Susan on January 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
I often note there are a few things that make me never want to have a daughter: 1) That T-Mobile commercial where the cheerleader squawks on the phone incessantly to her friend 2) the movie Thirteen and 3) this book.

100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed - as the hype conveyed - would be nothing without the string of sexual encounters, all graphically relived, through the pages of "Melissa P."s diary. The blase nature of the parents, who take little to no interest in their daughter's life, are almost certainly the catalyst for "Melissa P"'s sexploits and flowery (yet often captivating) writing style. While it's truly a coming of age novel, the character's development is on warp-speed as she's left to her own devices to experiment, often in dangerous situations, with her sexuality. Throughout, the character never breaks form, and the reader begins to anticipate her path; fear for her and maybe even envy her exploits - even if just a little. Maybe it's because this girl is 15 and her descriptions are so vivid... or maybe it's because she's had more sex than most 30 year-olds I know - not sure. But, this was one of the more provocative books I've read in awhile.
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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I always hesitate to criticize the prose to sharply when the book I'm reading is a translation. Still, I have to say that, though there are interesting moments in this "story," for the most part I was unimpressed. The writing to me was self-indulgent and childish, typical of a teenage girl's diary but not the ones that usually receive world-wide publication. Is this really the way a teenager thinks and speaks in the twenty-first century? If so, then they don't think and speak too differently from the writers of erotic novels in Victorian times.

From the reviews and interviews I've read, some of the popularity of this novel is explained by the fact that it is based on the author's own experiences. Considering that, it does offer the story a little more poignancy. But what is this book supposed to do for the reader, then? Are we supposed to be aroused by the eroticism or saddened by the poor protagonist's violations? In the end, various passages made me feel a little of both. But the key word there is "little." I was not extraordinarily moved in either direction and I didn't feel like I was left with any universal insights into the experiences of a modern teenager.

It actually bothers me that I was disappointed by this book. I was probably expecting a little too much from the hype in the articles I'd read. And I really dislike doing anything that might discourage a young person from picking up a pen and exploring their feelings in writing. It is true that journals and diaries can often provide inspiration for wonderful works of fiction and nonfiction. Rarely, however, is the journal itself a brilliant work. This one, I think, is not.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Shelley on July 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read/skimmed this book of "erotica" pretty quickly. The cover claimed it was a bestseller, worldwide sensation, etc. Actually, it's the story of a teenager who lets herself get used by a bunch of guys. It's not even erotic since all the sex is weird, bad and/or degrading. I couldn't figure out why she was interested after the first few bad encounters or what she hoped to gain. But, really, I didn't even care since the writing was so trite.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on September 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
I want some proof that a seventeen year old wrote this pretentious piece of junk. This reads like a bad poet trying to write a Penthouse letter. Simply awful. Please don't waste your money.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Melissa P., 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed (Black Cat, 2003)

Ah, the worldwide fascination with kiddie porn. You disagree? What would you call it when a book detailing the sexual exploits of a sixteen-year-old girl sells millions of copies? Okay, it may not really BE kiddie porn, because only the most neanderthal among us still believe that a sixteen-year-old of either gender isn't an adult. But it's hard to deny that part of the attraction of this book has to do with the fact that, if you tried to create a film version of it in America without changing the ages of the participants, you'd probably get arrested. But you put it in book form, and it becomes a bestseller. I love this country.

The main thing to know about 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed is that it's not erotica. You may think it's erotica, and the people blurbing it on the back may think it's erotica, but the simple truth of the matter is that there's more of the erotic to be found in the movie The Terminator than there is here. But then again, it's not really pornography, not in the sense of, say, the works of Marcus van Heller, whoever that particularly boring rake was, or the anonymous Victorian who published the infamous magazine The Pearl. Certainly not in the way Peter Sotos is pornography. Yes, there are some sex scenes, and it's slightly possible that the idea of multiple partners, or same-sex partners, might still shock one or two people who have been living in a cave their entire lives. Besides, it doesn't have the classic (and cliché) pornographic structure; the heroine wouldn't sleep with five guys as the first major sex scene in the book in a pornographic novel, that would be the last. Unless the author was a fetishist of some sort, in which s/he'd save that for last.
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